What Will Mystery Shopping Get Me?
Retail happens as it will. Food service is much the same. The credit for great service given and makeup not walking off the shelves is more often due to good managers (good management begets good employees, or so the formula goes) so, what will MYSTERY SHOPPING actually get me?
It seems like kind of a silly question; the answers in the question: mystery shopping will get you mystery shoppers! But what does that do for my business? How will that help my bottom line? And do these facts matter significantly enough to warrant spending hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars for something with such variables?
I’ve done a good deal of research on the subject and I believe I’ve found some answers which may surprise you.
One website that advertises this service claims “mystery shopping: confirms your brand image; builds customer loyalty and positive word of mouth; improves channel integration AND causes revenue to soar!”
Whoa. All that from hiring some random person to come in your store; maybe inconspicuously, maybe blatantly; and write a ‘review.’ Speaking of the fact; who are these ‘shoppers’ anyway? What do they know? What is their training? How fair are they actually being?
Giving deference to this website, it’s highly likely that having mystery shoppers around does get employees out from nodding off behind the register, off their cell phones, and from typing on their PDA’s (none of which are in their job description) and into the world of the customer of your store; offering to show your customers your product, help them select an item they may be unfamiliar with, and aiding in their penultimate decision at your restaurant, at that moment (“do you want fries with that?”) with a resounding “Yes!”
Nothing is more valuable than customer service. Another online Mystery Shopper retailer advises “68% of your customers who stop buying from you do so because of an attitude or indifference or rudeness by an employee…” Okay, but I know that I’ve ‘been rude to’ by an egregious employee and I’ve done my part to better the world and to not lose the brand I like by mentioning it to a manager on the way out so soon, that employee will be history.
As the debate rages, I’m sure a lot more needs to be found out about the long term benefits of mystery shopping and its advantages or not. My own feeling is that as we progress forward there will be a lot more information to come out on both sides, but, as has always been the case, the business owner will need to evaluate his or her own needs and then decide for themselves.
While the numbers may sound great, there is no magic bullet for business success. Keep good employees doing their work well and keep them moving at a good pace; give them managers who give the employees guidance, support, and discipline; give the managers the additional support and tools they need to keep your business running and your business could flourish.